IDLES
TANGK


2.5
average

Review

by Erwann S. STAFF
February 16th, 2024 | 156 replies


Release Date: 02/16/2024 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Tension without release

The history of IDLES is nothing short of a Greek tragedy. After a meteoric rise in 2017 and 2018 with their one-two punch of anthemic punk Brutalism and Joy as an Act of Resistance (titles alone go hard), 2020 saw the band’s formula indulge in a renunciation of change with the ultra monotone Ultra Mono. After rain comes fair weather: if 2021’s Crawler wasn’t exactly a return to the band’s heyday, at least it matched its introspective direction with the band’s knack for punky hits.

So. Is TANGK the cementation of the aforementioned return, or is it only the embodiment of a good-bad cyclicity that seems to hit every creative forces who want to make up for their latest statements instead of starting afresh? Well.

TANGK starts like most of its predecessors, with opener “Idea 101” being a slow-burning tune whose pulsing drums drive a rising tension. Said tension is beautifully accompanied by cascading piano loops that sound gorgeous thanks to the collaborative production work of guitarist Mark Bowen, Kenny Beats - who already worked on the band’s previous two albums - and Nigel Godrich, longtime Radiohead producer - you can tell, as the track is taken straight out the In Rainbows-King of Limbs catalog.

But then, after that rising tension, nothing happens.

“Idea 101” tells you everything you need to know about TANGK: it’s an album that contains an anger that never explodes, and a tension that is never released. That’s highly unfortunate, because IDLES is a band that needs to release the tension they create. Their trademark show opener “Colossus” is the perfect example of such an approach, with its second half breaking down every wall the first half carefully constructed. Here, the opener’s rising tension leads to “Gift Horse”, whose propulsive guitars and drums resonate with the universal themes of freedom, resilience, and love. But it’s too late: “Gift Horse” only releases the tension it itself creates, leaving the preceding song as sadly unfinished as the Sagrada Familia.

Most of that comment applies to the rest of the record: the promises are shinier than the actual delivery (hey that makes me think of that one politician). Lyrically, the message is relatively straightforward, but the speech doesn’t match the message’s power. “Grace” and “A Gospel” both display Joe Talbot’s quite pretty prayers toward his new god - love! -, but their melodies aren’t compelling enough to carry the songs’ textured production. Likewise, the closer “Monolith” is as underwhelming as IDLES can ever get, especially following a straightforward punk (semi-)banger like “Gratitude”.

IDLES’ approach towards more restrained territories works on one specific occasion though: “Roy” is as close as a classic pop tune as IDLES have ever written - even though they already perfected that specific niche of theirs with Crawler’s “The Beachland Ballroom”. Apart from that particular track, it’s when the band chooses to ditch sentimentality in favor of pure swagger that they manage to deliver engaging songs: the aforementioned “Gift Horse” and “Gratitude”, or the dance-punk (& LCD Soundsystem-backed) “Dancer” all choose to celebrate (both lyrically and musically) communion. The main problem with these tracks is that we’ve already heard this iteration of IDLES done better. Worse: it further proves TANGK ultimately fails where it’s supposed to innovate. Talbot’s fixation on love matters - rest is bullshit apparently, which is somewhat true but only if you’re in love innit - isn’t met with enough musical power, or even commitment to the chosen aesthetic. IDLES wanted TANGK to be their Kid A, but they ended up delivering their Tranquility Base Hotel Casino.



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user ratings (117)
3
good


Comments:Add a Comment 
dedex
Staff Reviewer
February 16th 2024


12780 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

quite disappointing innit

NightOnDrunkMountain
Contributing Reviewer
February 16th 2024


624 Comments


New one?? Have to check out

dedex
Staff Reviewer
February 16th 2024


12780 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

don't!!!

NightOnDrunkMountain
Contributing Reviewer
February 16th 2024


624 Comments


Hahaha, seems weak as you describe it, I think Idles is a case of a band that has a good impression in my mind due to the first two albums.

Then, I get excited every time there is a new release, but I don't really like the new works and get constantly either slightly or fully disappointed

dedex
Staff Reviewer
February 16th 2024


12780 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

yep their first two albums (and their shows!) will carry them way past their expiration date

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
February 16th 2024


32019 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I'm ready to be disappointed. Yet again.

kkarron
February 16th 2024


1356 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

it sounds like their determination to "not be a punk band" is a detriment to their output... well I'll check it anyway

WhiteNoise
February 16th 2024


3885 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

It’s idles with all the good bits taken out.



Really disappointing listen.

Demon of the Fall
February 16th 2024


33606 Comments


'Joy As An Act' had a small handful of bops. Occasionally engaging but mostly dull band otherwise. I'm guessing this one won't end well for me

StickFeit
February 16th 2024


2268 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Yeah this ain't it

osmark86
February 16th 2024


11387 Comments


Can't be that bad can it? They always produce a couple of bangers on each album imo

gabba
February 16th 2024


816 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

"IDLES wanted TANGK to be their Kid A, but they ended up delivering their Tranquility Base Hotel Casino." - this sounds really bad, can't wait to check the record

Flugmorph
February 16th 2024


33948 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yeah expected this from the singles, honestly.

JesperL
Staff Reviewer
February 16th 2024


5444 Comments


so this is edging: the album? nice
(great rev i won't listen to this)

Flugmorph
February 16th 2024


33948 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Damn I actually enjoy this quite a bit more than Crawler, love the brooding post punk atmosphere. Here I actually disagree with the review, because I think the album gets quite a bit of release in the second half which its ramping up to. Gratitute is great and Jungle might actually be a career highlight, fantastic song!



Yeah this isn't the same band anymore which released anthemic and biting punk jams like on their first three albums but man this is still hella good music, just different.

Pikazilla
February 16th 2024


29733 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

is this actually as bad as crawler?



surely not

anat
Contributing Reviewer
February 16th 2024


5743 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I can sorta appreciate what they’re trying for, but the execution is wanting



tangks but no tangks

brandaao
February 16th 2024


245 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm with @Flugmorph in this one.



Good review, but don't really agree with it, specially with the TBH+C comparison at the end. That album had a level of arrogance and detachment that I don't really feel with this one.

davesthesay
February 16th 2024


91 Comments


Let them evolve! You knuckle-draggers.

gabba
February 16th 2024


816 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

fast times these are

tomorrow noone's gonna read these comments



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